I was looking up flights to Miami on Orbitz.com today for an AIGA design conference I’ll be attending in November. I came across this awkward rendering [.gif, 48 KB] of their much-touted “matrix display”. All missing images pointed to
http://www.orbitz.com/d.gif, presumably a transparent spacer gif. I think it ironic that something supposed to be transparent can cause an interface to change so drastically if it happens to go missing.
For me, a reminder of all the clunky table-hack code combinations that have permeated the Web just for design effect. Don’t get me wrong, this matrix is definitely tabular data and belongs in a table. But the fact that Orbitz chose to use spacers inside extra table cells just for the colored border effect makes me welcome the proliferation of CSS. We’ll all be able to avoid those hacks in the future.
Note: In case you happen to stumble across this entry, ignore the comments below. This is the entry I use repeatedly for testing different MT comment functionality.